Precision or accuracy?

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It exists a difference in English that I do not find any equivalent (for now) in French: the difference between “accurate” and “precise”. Even if usually we use one or the other to tell the same thing, in fact, there is a slight difference that take a real sense according to the context.

To show that difference, I take an example in a vision lecture that I had recently.

Figure a. shows a precise and accurate distribution of the dots. Figure b. shows a precise but no accurate distribution. Figure c. accurate but not precised distribution. And finally, figure d. shows an inaccurate and imprecise distribution.

Figure a. shows a precise and accurate distribution of the dots. Figure b. shows a precise but no accurate distribution. Figure c. accurate but not precised distribution. And finally, figure d. shows an inaccurate and imprecise distribution.

  • accurate: the average distribution is centered in zero.
  • precise: the distribution is colocalized around or on the same point.